It’s been a beautiful, long, cool spring. While so many others have been bored during this stay at home spring due to COVID-19, I found myself busier than ever. It’s been nice being outside tending my garden with temperature mostly in the 50’s and 60’s during the day. I have a lot of photos to share.
I’m sitting at a table with an open window at my back and the breeze is glorious! The first three days of October were around 90 degrees which is crazy. Today is beautiful and we are even expecting some much needed rain on Monday so keeping my fingers crossed.
Dave usually walks Darcy in the morning and we both go in the evening. Dave’s requirement to report to work in northern Virgina two days every other week means it is hard to get his hours in so I’ve been walking Darcy in the morning when I can. She plops herself down when she looks back and sees people coming up behind us which is pretty much always since it is a well loved park we walk in. I literally have to drag her to get her going again. Then the people say “oh, she’s tired” and I let them know she just wants to see them. She runs around the dog park for an hour so I know walking with me isn’t causing her to be tired. I enjoy walking again and can feel it is good for my body.
Letting her have her little break.
The red chokeberry bush
in my nature journal
The paw paw tree leaves start turning color quite early. I harvested quite a few this year. They are best when I just pick them off the ground before they start to rot too much. I gave some away this year. Some people had them before and were happy to have them again. One had never had a paw paw and was surprised she like it.
Our one little pepper plant has given us quite a few large peppers. I expect this is the last of it. I made some sweet red pepper relish with these. The guys ate it on their chicken salad sandwiches last night.
I’m feeling a bit under the weather so the only thing getting done around here is a bit of sewing, reading, sketching and light housework. (And if truth be told – watching a lot of youtube videos.)
I thought I’d share a few sketches since one is of our front door. The cityscape is of the Clock Tower building on E. Beverley Street in Staunton. The sketch of some of my toiletries and the door was done for an online sketching class I’m taking. I’m purposely focusing on sketching (and not drawing) because I’m not interested in trying to perfectly render what I see.
I’m having fun playing with my pens and paints and seeing a little bit of improvement with each sketch.
It’s time to start thinking about a vegetable garden. It has been too rainy to do any prep work. Right now we are just hoping for a few good days in early spring to get things started and then just planting some of the seeds we already have. No real planning – just doing what can get done.
I should mention here that on February 5 we had our precious goldendoodle, Duke, euthanized. It’s such a hard thing to do, but we knew it was the right thing to do. He had a good long life – 15 years – and was a great dog.
I think these photos are from 2015.
This is my best effort of a bluebird in watercolors. I see room for a lot of improvement but it is much better than the one I painted about 6 weeks ago. I’ve been drawing and/or painting most days and taking an online class – all of which has helped so much.
We are finally painting the family room/Dave’s office. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Bruton White paint color. It’s what they call a greige (a greyish beige or beigy grey).
I’m thinking of taking a watercolor class focusing on skies so I’ve been looking for interesting skies.
Above and below are photos taken from our front porch one early morning a few days ago. Above is facing southeast and below is facing east.
While taking the photo below I’m facing north/northwest. In person the trees almost looked like they were on fire. This happens often and I’m not sure what causes it.
I realized if I’m going to include some of my artwork here I needed to also include Dave’s woodturning. He’s been cranking out the bowls like mad. They are beautiful and he is learning as he goes.
I’m trying to find different ways of using the bowls. Here I have fabric scrap triangle I’m accumulating while making a star quilt.
Just had to include this photo of Dave and Duke at the vets. Blood work was good so Duke can continue taking his pain killers.
Here are Len and Duke. This cuddling is all Len’s (the beagle) idea. I’ve probably mentioned that Len has thyroid cancer and Duke (the goldendoodle) is 15 years old and has arthritis. I’m not sure they will make it through the winter. Sad to see them in decline.
I enjoyed the fall color of the columbine in our native garden. I read that severely wet weather can dampen the fall leaf color but I noticed that this year was the best year for fall color since we’ve moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Other years have been very dry. I’m hoping for a year of average precipitation evenly spread out for 2019!
I’ve been consumed with a desire to draw and paint these past few months. I’m very frustrated with my rudimentary abilities. I know that it will take lots of practice and I just have to be patient. I’m trying! I ordered some better paints, brushes and paper than what I have and I’m acting like a kid waiting for Christmas. The paints and paper should arrive this Friday and the brushes must be on the slow boat across the Atlantic. The little tracking icon has shown them “in transit” for a week now. Actually, the little icon is an airplane so I don’t understand why it is taking so long. See!
These are leaves from around the house.
And here is my watercolor of same.
Len Len waiting for a treat.
Dave has been chopping wood from the ash tree we had taken down. That pile will be there – just off the patio- for a while. He was trying to decide where to move the wood and we decided to save ourselves the work of moving it since we will just have to move it back to burn it in the woodstove. This will be good for the winter of 2019/20.
My daughter won a gift certificate for a class at the Beverley Street Studio School here in Staunton. Because she is in Charlottesville and was finding it hard to commit to a class here we asked if we could transfer the gift certificate to me. They graciously allowed it and I signed up for a beginner drawing and painting class. Above is my drawing after the first class. I was quite nervous at first because we were just told to start drawing while the teacher went around to give individual advice. It took her a while to get to me and I was really struggling with it. It’s probably been about 45 years since I’ve had any kind of art class. Once she got me started I had no trouble continuing. That said, I had my eraser in hand at all time and used it constantly.
I’m sharing this here because I hope to get to where I can do a half decent botanical drawing and still lifes and landscapes around our home and property. It will take a lot of practice though – which I hadn’t really been thinking of when I signed up for the class. Now that I’ve gotten started though, I hate the thought of giving it up. And it has only been a little over a week since my first class! I always loved art class in elementary school and I’ve always said I wished I could draw. So now I hope to commit to the effort. We’ll see!